Managing Moral Distress: A Strategy for Resolving Ethical Dilemmas
13 Pages Posted: 30 Apr 2011
Date Written: April 29, 2011
Conflicts of interest. The boundaries of confidentiality. Right v. right dilemmas. Matters of duty, responsibility, character, and consequence. Ethical issues pervade professional life, and the moral distress they can create requires thoughtful reflection that moves beyond knee-jerk intuitions and gut reactions. This article presents a practical framework for assessing and resolving ethical dilemmas in a sophisticated manner guided by a circumspect and reflective analysis able to withstand the scrutiny of others and minimize the potential for personal regrets. Central to the analysis set forth in this article’s strategy are the “interrogation questions” – a series of inquiries that draw from the richness of moral philosophy and ethical traditions, while reflecting the practical concerns of contemporary business practices – which guide the decision maker through a comprehensive review of primary considerations. Additionally, the article highlights a number of obstacles that challenge one’s awareness of a moral dilemma, a necessary precondition before one can employee the strategies of careful analysis and reflective judgment that this article outlines.
Keywords: Ethics, morals, decision making, critical thinking, leadership
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